Building Resilience and Coping with
Climate Change and Ecological Degradation


With the world’s population set to reach 9 billion, agricultural production will need to increase by 70 per cent in order to meet the rising demand and avert disaster by 2050. Moreover, climate change and degrading lands increase the vulnerability of the world’s poorest communities that depend on agriculture and related natural resources to meet their basic needs, threatening both social and economic security.

Agricultural production is responsible for 10-12 per cent of the total global anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Carbon markets and macro-level policy decisions are not likely to provide benefits to farmers and communities in the short run. If communities and farmers are to help reduction and conservation of resources, they must have a positive impact on their lives or the result may be unacceptable trade offs. We can help bring about a transformation by promoting behavioural change and livelihood options around adaptation and mitigation options.

We at Development Alternatives (DA) believe that adaptation for climate change, conservation and regeneration of natural resources must be practiced and supported in order to build greater resilience to the impacts of climate change. The major challenge is to enable accelerated adaptation at a rate faster than the demands that will otherwise overtake them without threatening sensitive livelihood systems as both urban and rural communities strive to cope with the situation.

Communities require support as their capacity to cope with these stresses is limited. Individuals need to be provided with options and the capacity to use these options for undertaking adaptation and ensuring livelihood security. Development Alternatives has supported adaptation options, ranging from diversification in agriculture production systems, resource-efficient agriculture practices, promotion of green jobs, and access to clean energy and improved institutional settings to help communities build resilience and cope with the adversities of climate change and ecological degradation. We also continue to create awareness on the implications of global warming, the need for conservation of resources, as well as the development of sustainable livelihoods and lifestyles.

The work of Development Alternatives is in convergence with government schemes and policies on horticulture, watershed development, agriculture and rural development. In this domain, our work has been supported by NABARD, SDC, CDKN, the Government of Madhya Pradesh, the Government of Himachal Pradesh and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

In an endeavour to create sustainable livelihoods, DA is helping rural communities build their capacities to deal with poverty with an attention to the synergies between climate change mitigation, food security and poverty alleviation. q

Kiran Sharma


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